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At Tate Britain

Tom Crewe: Burne-Jones, 24 January 2019

... There are​ self-trained artists; then there are self-willed ones. Edward Burne-Jones, like Vincent Van Gogh, was one of the latter. That’s to say, he decided, in 1855, to be an artist – he was studying for a theology degree at Oxford at the time – without knowing whether he was capable of being one, perhaps even without considering absence of talent a potential obstacle ...

Breeding too fast

John Ziman, 4 February 1982

The Nuclear Barons 
by Peter Pringle and James Spigelman.
Joseph, 578 pp., £12.95, January 1982, 0 7181 2061 2
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... to assert the same of an ordinary power station on the grounds that it generates half a billion watts of electricity, or, per contra, that a dam must be perfectly safe because it weighs a million tons and is just sitting quietly on Mother Earth. I do not say that the problems of risk assessment and accident avoidance are not peculiarly difficult in nuclear ...

Praise Yah

Eliot Weinberger: The Psalms, 24 January 2008

The Book of Psalms: A Translation with Commentary 
by Robert Alter.
Norton, 518 pp., £22, October 2007, 978 0 393 06226 7
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... anatomically perplexing ‘The wicked backslide from the very womb’ (58). But fortunately, as Edward Dahlberg once remarked, ‘there are many psalms that even the droning of a priest cannot kill.’ As one reads along, the suspicion grows that perhaps this book is not about the poetry at all, but about the commentary. Usually half, and sometimes more, of ...

Rising Moon

R.W. Johnson, 18 December 1986

L’Empire Moon 
by Jean-Francois Boyer.
La Découverte, 419 pp., August 1986, 2 7071 1604 1
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The Rise and Fall of the Bulgarian Connection 
by Edward Herman and Frank Brodhead.
Sheridan Square, 255 pp., $19.95, May 1986, 0 940380 07 2
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... Moonie influence. William Simon, who had been one of Reagan’s chief fund-raisers in 1980, Jim Watts, Reagan’s Interior Secretary, and the Presidential counsellor, Claire Booth Luce, all agreed to accept honorific positions with the Times, which rapidly became the preferred house magazine of the Reagan Administration. The President himself has frequently ...

Damn all

Scott Malcomson, 23 September 1993

Culture of Complaint: The Fraying of America 
by Robert Hughes.
Oxford, 224 pp., £12.95, June 1993, 0 19 507676 1
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... history or memory in paint, and the general sense of trivial pursuit that infests our culture. In Edward Hopper’s work Hughes praises ‘patient, lucid development; the transcendence of mere talent; richness and density of meaning; and a deep sense of moral dignity in the artist’s refraction of his own culture’. Robert Motherwell’s Elegies to the ...

In the Hothouse

Peter Howarth: Swinburne, 8 November 2018

21st-Century Oxford Authors: Algernon Charles Swinburne 
edited by Francis O’Gorman.
Oxford, 722 pp., £95, December 2016, 978 0 19 967224 0
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... interests of free speech his critics should stop trying to sniff out moral wrongdoing. But when Edward Moxon pulled the book, Swinburne stood firm. ‘To alter my course or mutilate my published work seems to me somewhat like deserting one’s colours,’ he told Lord Lytton. ‘One may or may not repent having enlisted, but to lay down one’s arms, except ...

Sudden Elevations of Mind

Colin Burrow: Dr Johnson, 17 February 2011

The Works of Samuel Johnson, Vols XXI-XXIII: The Lives of the Poets 
edited by John Middendorf.
Yale, 1696 pp., £180, July 2010, 978 0 300 12314 2
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... essay in appreciation. He also did some delegation in order to complete the work. The life of Edward Young was written by Herbert Croft, who was more diligent than his master in unearthing facts, but whose pastiche of the Johnsonian style painfully illustrates how hard that style is to emulate. Even with these short cuts, and even with the assistance of ...
... and Liverpool, Iberdrola; in Manchester, a consortium of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia and a J.P. Morgan investment fund. More than anyone, you’d think, it would matter to the people who made these arrangements possible in the first place. What has happened is not what they promised or intended when they put Britain’s state-owned electricity industry ...

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